Tech Giants Bet on Reducing AI’s Climate Impact

( – Some of the biggest technology companies in the world are supporting a new kind of telecom network which would help to reduce the climate impact brought on by the addition of artificial intelligence. They stated that it would reduce the overall power consumption of artificial intelligence applications while accelerating the transition into 6G mobile internet service.

Microsoft, Intel, Google, and Sony are all supporting an initiative they’re calling the IOWN Global Forum, which is a collective of cloud hyperscalers, telecom groups, and chipmakers. The companies are expecting a full deployment of an “all-photonic” network by the end of the decade.

Photonic networks are networks that use light instead of electrical impulses to deliver the data. This is supposed to result in far less energy consumption for transferring data around the world. Power usage is a problem all over the world, and with the addition of more prominent and energy-consuming technology, this is expected to worsen.

The goal is to eliminate the strain that telecom networks currently have, especially because it’s expected to worsen as AI becomes more popular. Katsuhiko Kawazoe, chair of the IOWN Global Forum, said, “Mobile traffic is growing more and more every day. There is a need to make efficient use of radio spectrum and of power.”

The head of implementation components at Ericsson and chair of the marketing steering committee at IOWN Global Forum, Gonzalo Camarillo, also spoke out to explain a bit of their goals. Camarillo said that the technology would “allow us to power down for certain circumstances in the network.”

One example of this would be if a major city used more radio units during office hours than at night, and residential areas would need more units for night as people return home. This would better distribute and allow more control over what energy is being transferred and to where.

Masahisa Kawashima, IOWN technology director at NTT Corporation, said that the IOWN technology would help eliminate any further disruptions as AI becomes more popular. “Many data centers are too concentrated in a small area, and that’s causing a big energy demand for that area. But if we use IOWN APNs, we can have users deploy data centers over a wide area,” Kawashima said.

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